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St Michael's players who have also played for Northamptonshire

Thomas Gascoigne Beale

Thomas Beale was a local shoe manufacturer and freemason and was said to have been the first English googly bowler, though this is hard to substantiate either way. He played in the first game to be held at the County Ground on 14 May 1885 for Northamptonshire Club & Ground against Surrey, opening the batting with the Rev F W Kingston.

Not much is known about his career with St Michael’s, but what is apparent is that he was one of the best cricketers in Northampton at the end of the nineteenth century. He also played for Alma and Enigmas. In 1888 for Enigmas, he averaged 54.3 with the bat and got 26 wickets @ 3.1 with the ball. That included best figures of 7-67 in 67 balls as a side called Parsees were skittled out for only 25 runs.

Lancelot Townsend Driffield

Lancelot Driffield was born in 1880 at Old in Northamptonshire. He was educated at St John’s School, Leatherhead, and in his last year he scored 910 runs and took 97 wickets. He then went to Cambridge University. In 1900 he took an amazing 7-7 with his slow left arm against the MCC at Fenners, and was awarded his Blue in 1902. He also scored 109 against the MCC, though it is unclear if this was in the same match.

He then came to Northamptonshire, and is generally regarded as the first ever left arm bowler to represent the county. He played for Northants when first class status was gained in 1905 and played his last match in 1908. In 1907, he had the ignominy being bowled for a duck as the County were skittled out for 12 against Gloucestershire, to this day still their lowest first class score.

In 40 matches, he batted 67 times, scoring 603 runs, scoring 2 fifties with a highest score of 52 with an average of 11.38. Bowling wise, he took 108 wickets at an average of 25.2 with best figures of 7-78. He had five 5-wicket innings, one 10-wicket match and held 18 catches.

After leaving Northamptonshire, he continued to play for the MCC. He went on to become a master at his old school, but died prematurely in 1917 aged 37.

Charles James Tomlin Pool

Charles Pool was born in Northampton in 1876 and was taught the game of cricket by his mother, who was a keen sportswoman. He made his first appearances in local league cricket when just 13 years old. He then made his debut for Northamptonshire whilst still at Northampton Grammar School aged 17 in the last fixture of the 1893 season against Buckinghamshire at High Wycombe.

 

In 1895, he scored 157 against the MCC, and topped the County’s batting with an average of 44. A year later, he scored 144 against Durham at South Shields as the County racked up 517-8, a new record. Other St Michael’s players also starred that day, with Billy Kingston scoring 97 and Lancelot Driffield scoring a half-century. In 1905, he had the honour of scoring Northamptonshire’s first century as a first class side when he made 110 against Hampshire. This went alongside his record of having scored the county’s first ever century in the Second Class Counties competition.

He was a stylish cricketer, and also looked the part. His handlebar moustache, cravat and boater all conveyed the appearance of a true Edwardian gentleman. On the field of play, one reporter of the time wrote ‘There is no more delightful sight to our cricket loving crowds here in Northampton than watching the slim and athletic form of Mr CJT Pool at the wickets, gathering runs as easy as blackberries.’ He played cricket in a stylish and effortless manner. Tall, graceful and upstanding as a batsman, he blended a strong defence, a slashing off-drive, a crisp cut and even stronger leg side strokes in a free and easy style that made run-getting look easy. When he was in form there was no better way of spending an afternoon than watching him bat.

 

Charles James Tomlin Pool
To go with his dashing good looks, he also had an eye for the ladies, though he never married. Once when playing for Northants in their minor county days, Pool asked the captain, a man called Horton, whether he could stay with his aunt for an away fixture. It was of course a means to stay the night at the home of his latest girlfriend. Pool promised to catch the first train to the ground on the morning of the match, and so Horton agreed.
 

Come the match itself, Northants lost the toss and were asked to field first. Pool arrived late at the ground after a mad dash in a horse drawn cab. He rushed in to the pavilion, changed, took the field and offered his apologies to the captain. Horton turned around and calmly said to an out of puff Pool, 'Oh, that's all right, Charlie. You’ve not been picked for this game!'

He played briefly for Little Lever in the Bolton League, and was offered a job in a local building society as an incentive to make the move permanent. Instead he moved to Australia for health reasons. Whist there, he declined the chance to turn out for England under the captaincy of Lancashire’s Archie MacLaren against a local up-country side.

He returned to England in time to play in Northamptonshire’s debut season as a first class side in 1905. He starred with the bat, with a top score of 91 in a defeat to Sussex at Hove. In that season, he scored 664 runs at an average of 36, and was far away the best County’s best batsman.

Charles James Tomlin Pool
 

The following year, he played what was probably his greatest innings for the County. Following on against Worcestershire at New Road with a deficit of 165 and staring defeat in the face, Pool hit 25 fours in an innings of 166 runs in 3 hours, his highest ever score for the County. This left the home side a victory target of 254. Aided by George Thompson’s bowling, Worcestershire finished short at 212 all out. Northamptonshire had to wait until 1988 to win their next match having followed on.

Pool often deputised a captain, and was in charge when Northamptonshire beat both Lancashire and Yorkshire for the first time. His first game in charge came in 1907, when he was the side’s leading scorer with 708 runs at an average of 22.

1908 saw him slip to third top scorer, but he still amassed an impressive 733 runs in the season. He opened the innings with Billy Kingston, who himself topped the scoring charts with 989 runs. The following year, Pool again was in the runs, scoring 811 to be the second highest scorer.

In 94 first class matches, Charles Pool batted 177 times, scored 4,350 runs at an average of 25.44. He scored 4 hundreds and 20 fifties. He also bowled occasionally, picking up 5 wickets, with a best of 4-53. In the field, he had a safe pair of hands, holding on to 51 catches.

He retired from first class cricket in 1910, but kept involved in the game by becoming Northamptonshire’s youth coach. However he wasn’t impressed by what he saw at training. He wrote ‘The ground staff come up, mess about, play among themselves, and bowl at any members that may happen to be on the ground.’ His views must have struck a chord with the Committee at the time as in 1911 he was promoted to the position of chief coach. He was also a licensee and ran the County Hotel, today known as the County Tavern, right by the County Ground on Abington Avenue. He also found time to play hockey to a high standard, captaining Northamptonshire in the process.

Pool continued to play local club cricket well into his fifties, and as well as St Michael’s, he also played for Clarence and Mostyn. He also played for the MCC, scoring three centuries in 1925.

He went to live in North Wales where he bred Great Danes and relaxed by fishing and shooting. He later went to live in Sussex, where he continued to play club cricket successfully.

Charles Pool died in 1954 in Epsom, Surrey. To commemorate his achievements for Northamptonshire, a bequest from his brother led to the erection of ‘The Pool Gates’ at the Wantage Road entrance to the County Ground in 1959.

 

WH (Billy) Kingston

Billy Kingston was born in Northampton in 1874 and made his debut for Northamptonshire at the Oval in 1894 against Surrey 2nd XI. He batted that game at number six, but after a string of good performances, moved up the order and stayed there for most of his career. He had to wait until 1898 to record his first century, scoring 149 against Berkshire. In the same match, he was also ‘responsible’ for the dismissal of his batting partner Tom Brown. An appeal for a catch was turned down by both umpires as they both claimed to be unsighted. When Billy was asked for his opinion, he said that Brown had touched the ball, and so he was given out.

With Northamptonshire still a second-class county, Billy scored runs consistently. In 1904 against Staffordshire at Stoke-on-Trent, he scored 102 against the home attack lead by the great S F Barnes. Two days later at The Oval, he opened the innings for the Gentlemen against the players. In the first innings he was out for 5. He didn’t get another go as the Gentlemen won by an innings.

When Northamptonshire finally became a first class county in 1905, their first game was against Hampshire. The honour of facing the first ball went to George Thompson, with Billy the non-striker. He averaged only 19 in that season, and it was not until 1908 that he hit his best form, scoring 989 runs. He played his final game in 1909, whereupon he continued his profession as a sports outfitter.

In 77 first class matches, he batted 140 times, scoring 2,594 runs at an average of 18.8 with 2 fifties and a top score of 83. Bowling wise, he claimed just the 2 wickets but held 44 catches in the field. He died in his home town in 1956.

 

Billy Kingston

HE Kingston
  • Played 13 matches for county between 1905-1906
  • Batting - 25 innings, 4 NO, 335 runs, highest 68, average 15.95, 1 fifty
  • Bowling - 6 wickets, average 41.00, best 2-8, 7 catches.

 

Sid Cox

Sid Cox was a member of the first St Michael’s side to win the Northampton Town League in 1932. That same season he also played 6 games for Northamptonshire.

Despite being by far and a way the best bat in the St Michael’s side, he struggled somewhat at County level. In 11 innings, he could only muster 89 runs at 8.9 with a top score of 25. He also took 1 wicket and held 2 catches.

Sid continued to play for St Michael's for many years thereafter. During the 1960 season, Sid and his son Ian recorded the club batting partnership with a second wicket stand of 208 against County Hall.

 

Sid Cox

SI (Ian) Phillips

Ian Phillips was the last St Michael’s player to represent Northamptonshire. Part of the successful St Michael’s side of the 1930s, he made his County debut against Leicestershire in 1938, and played a total of 6 games for Northants. In his 12 innings, he scored 88 runs at an average of 9.78 with a highest score of 22. He also held 3 catches.

He also played for Brighton College, topping the averages in 1938 and 1938, latterly as captain. His son Chris also played for St Michael’s.

 

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